If you’re like most people, when January 1st rolls around, you’ve got quite a bit going on. Final holiday celebrations might still be on the calendar, college bowl games are on TV, and you’ve got that list of resolutions to attend to. We’re going to suggest you add one more item to that list – and make accomplishing it a priority.
We’re talking about an annual skin cancer check. Fortunately, this is an easy New Year’s resolution, because all you have to do is write on your calendar to make an appointment with your dermatologist. Your doctor will do the rest.
Every medical authority in the United States recommends that people have an annual skin cancer check, which allows your healthcare professional to detect various types of cancer that might be present and initiate the necessary treatment immediately.
In the U.S. each year, nearly 3.5 million people will be diagnosed with new cases of skin cancer. This accounts for more cases than colon, lung, prostate and breast cancer combined. Skin cancer can strike anyone, and while there are telltale signs that it is present, only a trained specialist can make a formal diagnosis.
Types of skin cancer
There are many types of skin cancer, with three being the most prevalent.
- Basal cell carcinoma – the most common of all skin cancers
- Squamous cell carcinoma – the second-most common form of skin cancer
- Melanoma – the most aggressive and deadly skin cancer
Most, but not all, skin cancers are the result of exposure to the UV rays of the sun. It’s a known fact that people who religiously use a good sunscreen product have much less chance of contracting skin cancer.
While basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas need to be diagnosed and treated quickly, the biggest focus of an annual skin cancer check is melanoma. Here’s why.
- Every 54 minutes, someone dies from melanoma.
- In 2017, it is estimated that melanoma will be responsible for 9,730 deaths.
- Even though it’s rare (less than 1 percent of all skin cancer cases), melanoma is by far the most deadly.
- The odds of having melanoma double in people who have had more than five sunburns.
Although as noted, only a licensed physician can properly diagnose skin cancer, there are signs people can watch for on their bodies.
Melanoma commonly occurs in moles. Not all moles are cancerous, but those that are often have irregular shapes, jagged edges, uneven shading and/or dark areas. Additionally, cancerous moles often are larger than a pencil eraser and change in shape, texture and size.
If these descriptions apply to any mole you have, please contact DermSurgery Associates right away for a complete screening. But even if you have no “odd” moles, that doesn’t rule out skin cancer, so make it one of your New Year’s resolutions every year to visit us for an annual skin cancer check.
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DermSurgery Associates is a Greater Houston area dermatology practice offering cosmetic, surgical and non-invasive dermatology treatments and procedures with industry-leading physicians trained and experienced with the most current dermatology technologies and procedures. We have many service locations throughout the Houston area. For more information, contact
7515 Main, Suite 240
Houston, TX 77030